Are Midsize Pickup Trucks Actually Cheaper Than Full-Size Pickup Trucks?

Midsize trucks are cheaper than full-size pickups, right? All midsize pickups have a lower MSRP than any full-size truck. But not by much. Upgrading from a midsize to a full-size may be cheaper than a major upgrade (such as the engine or 4WD) on that entry-level midsize.

How much do midsize pickup trucks cost?

Every midsize pickup truck starts at less than $30k and more than $25k. Upgrading to four doors, 4WD, or a better engine can add up, rolling that price over $30k. You can pay $45k or more for a fully-loaded midsize truck.

Convoy of Toyota Tacoma midsize pickup trucks driving through snow in the mountains.
Toyota Tacomas | Katie Musical via Unsplash

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The highest MSRP in the midsize pickup truck market goes to the 2022 Nissan Frontier: $28,690–according to the North American Dealers’ Association (NADA). But customers seem fine with that, Nissan is currently selling twice as many all-new 2022 Frontiers than its old 2021 Frontiers.

The 2022 Toyota Tacoma‘s MSRP is $27,150. The Tacoma is the midsize truck to beat; the Tacoma has a dedicated following and its sales numbers reflect this. This may be why all the midsize trucks from Detroit are aiming to undercut the Tacoma. The 2022 GMC Canyon starts at $26,800. Its twin, the Chevrolet Colorado, starts at $25,435. And the Ford Ranger is similarly priced at $25,715.

Upgrades to a mid-size pickup truck can add up quickly. The cheapest Tacoma is a 2WD “SR” trim with two doors and a four-cylinder engine. Going from an access cab and long bed to a double cab and a short bed would bump the Tacoma’s price up $830. Upgrading from the 159 horsepower base engine and adding 4WD will cost you another $5,435. If you want all these options, you’ll pay $33,415.

For comparison’s sake, the 2022 Toyota Tundra–with four doors and a turbocharged V6–starts at just $35,950. Learn more about the entry-level Tundra.

How much do full-size pickup trucks cost?

Truck manufacturers have been clinging to the $30k full-size pickup like it’s the $5 footlong. The result is that you can get an absurdly stripped-down two-door, 2WD full-size pickup truck from any of the Detroit Three.

White, four door Ram Classic pickup truck parked in a shop.
2019 Ram 1500 Classic | Paul Kansonkho via Unsplash

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For example, a base model Ford F-150 XL has a rear backup camera and manual door cranks, automatic braking, and no cruise control. Ford currently lists the F-150 XL with an MSRP of $30,495. Even though it is missing many features, it still is a modern Ford F-150 with a ten-speed transmission and naturally-aspirated V6.

To compete with Ford, both General Motors and Ram have continued manufacturing one of their older pickup trucks to offer at a lower price point. For example, Chevrolet advertises the 2022 Silverado 1500 LTD at $30,400. This truck is actually a newly-built 2021 Silverado.

Likewise, Ram offers the 1500 Classic at $29,515. This is a newly built fourth-generation Ram truck with engineering dating back to 2018. The interesting thing about the Ram 1500 Classic is that it is available with a two-door “regular” cab while the current fifth-generation Ram 1500 is only available with four doors. Here are the other differences between the Ram 1500 and the Ram Classic.

So do full-size trucks really cost more than midsize trucks?

Yes, a base-model midsize pickup truck will always cost a few thousand dollars less than even the cheapest full-size pickup truck. But if you consider four doors and 4WD a necessity then your final midsize pickup truck might end up costing more than a full-size truck.

Blue Ram truck, Red Chevrolet truck, and white GMC pickup truck lined up at a used car dealership.
Pickup truck dealership | Visions of America/Joe Sohm/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

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You could think of full-size as an upgrade like any other. If you want to upgrade your midsize pickup truck you could add 4WD, a larger engine, or swap to a full-size pickup truck. Choosing any of these options will only cost you a few thousand dollars.

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